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Full Moon Silhouette

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A character is framed right in front of a full moon, making a dramatic or ominous silhouette. Can be either still or moving, but flying past the moon was popularized by E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.

Since this often requires the moon to be large enough for a silhouette, this trope tends to coincide with Gigantic Moon (it can be done without such trickery, provided you set the camera up a long way from the foreground object and use a powerful telephoto/zoom lens). Almost always paired with Frequently Full Moon.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Akame ga Kill!: The members of Night Raid are introduced like this, with their silhouettes standing on threads in mid-air and in front of the blood-red moon.
  • Bleach: One of the iconic opening shots is Rukia's silhouette Standing On High Ground.
  • Sakura does it at the end of the Cardcaptor Sakura's first episode after activating the Fly card. Tomoyo happened to be testing her video camera on the moon at the time. Oops.
  • Case Closed: The Sport Club Murder Case is a filler episode where a silhouette is seen high-diving into the pool, with the light of the full moon showing the silhouette. The witness was able to see the act and drew a picture of that moment, with the figure jumping in front of the full moon. The witness was able to capture the sparkle of the earrings in his picture, which is then used as evidence to identify the culprit.
  • Eureka Seven has one of these picture. It's treated a bit more seriously than most other instances of this trope.
  • Kuroh with his sword, in the fight portion of the opening of K.
  • During the fight in the introduction to Karas, the Karas transforms from plane to samurai form and back-flips through the air silhouetted against the moon.
  • In Kurau Phantom Memory , the full moon looks awfully huge behind the flying silhouettes of Kurau and later Christmas, although it makes for lovely E.T.-like scenery, emphasizing the lonely mood.
floating high in the air, suspended in front of the full moon.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz, Gundam Deathscythe Hell makes its entrance doing this, unfurling its "wings" and coming down on top of an unsuspecting Serpent.
  • Naruto:
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
    • Setsuna near the end of the Kyoto Arc, after she rescues Konoka from the clutches of the enemy.
    • Eva has one at the beginning of the Mahora Blackout Operation.
  • Odd Taxi: In the last episode, Odokawa speeds off the partially-constructed bridge in his taxi, with bank notes scattering out his trunk, in front of the full moon.
  • One Piece:
    • During the Drum Island arc of the Baroque Works saga, this occurs with the Straw Hat Pirates when they are hastily departing Drum Island in Dr. Kureha's sleigh, with Chopper hauling the sleigh and the Straw Hats piled up in the sleigh hanging on for dear life.
    • In One Piece Film: Strong World, Brook does this along with his trademark laugh style.
    • Luffy, after awakening his Devil Fruit during his fight with Kaido, does this while running in the sky. The silhouette is near identical to a depiction of the Sun God Nika, confirming that Luffy is Joy Boy.
  • Vancha March is introduced with one in the manga adaptation of The Saga of Darren Shan, as is Steve, upon his return in volume 8.
  • Sailor Moon: Sailor Moon herself does this a lot. A surprising number of the battles occur on full moon nights, allowing her to perform a perfect shadow appearance before going into her "I will punish you" speech.
  • Shugo Chara! where the Tsukiyomi siblings are so awesome that they can make an auto full moon. Just look at any shots of Utau nightsinging, and you'll see this trope. Ikuto has it less so, but if you see him at night he'll have the moon behind him.
  • Usagi-chan de Cue!!: At the start of chapter 3, Mikami Inaba concludes her soul searching, and leaves the sixth floor apartment via the terrace. She leaps into the night sky in front of an oversize moon that frames her completely. This moment freezes as a cut point to another scene, that of Haru and Chou conversing in a by-street.
  • At one point during The Vision of Escaflowne Hitomi goes looking for Van and finds him on a rooftop practicing sword forms framed by the full moon.
  • In the Wish Upon the Pleiades ONA, Minato appears in front of the moon a couple of times, forming a silhouette.
  • Wolf's Rain: Some of the running wolf animation loops in the closing credits have a full moon background. In later episodes the moon turns blood-red.


    Asian Animation 
  • Lamput: In "Sleepwalking", Slim Doc's silhouette is seen in front of the moon for a second after Lamput flings him back onto the balcony of the house.
  • Simple Samosa references the ET The Extraterrestrial example in "Anda Bhatija", where Samosa and friends have the alien Yolky on a bike with them as they're on the run from the military, who are after the alien, and they get flung into the sky and have their silhouettes superimposed over a full moon before they crash to the ground.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • Shows up twice during chapter 3 of Racer and the Geek. The first time is in a flashback. The second time is when Rainbow Dash confronts Telny and he aims his gun at her.

    Films — Animation 
  • Many Christmas movies feature an ending scene where a silhouette of Santa Claus and his reindeer traveling away can be seen in the front of the moon. Played for drama in The Nightmare Before Christmas: Jack is out to give gifts in Santa Claus' stead and the army is trying to shoot him down; they get him when the clouds clear and he flies in front of the moon. Of course, he's already dead, so he gets better.
    • Earlier in the film, Jack sings atop a hill in a graveyard with his silhouette showing against a full moon during "Jack's Lament". This image has been used prominently on the cover for home-released editions of the film.
  • In Aladdin, Aladdin and Jasmine pass in front of a giant full moon during their Flight of Romance.
  • The final shot of Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is Captain Underpants flying up to the moon while George and Harold are hanging onto his cape.
  • Inverted in the scene of The Little Mermaid where a human Ariel takes her first breath, as she's backlit by a distant sunrise, but it's a similar enough effect.
  • Puss in Boots (2011): While being chased by Puss, Kitty Softpaws leaps off a roof, passing in front of the moon.
  • The last view of Kehaar in Watership Down shows him flying away toward the rising moon, and banking back and forth in front of it.
  • In Shaun the Sheep: Farmageddon, the parody of the E.T. bike scene happens in broad daylight, but does involve them passing in front of a pub sign showing a full moon.
  • In Turning Red, Mei jumps in front of the full moon just before the climax.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • In Ray Bradbury's The Halloween Tree, eight boys cling to one another to form the tail of a giant kite. The narrative describes them forming a question-mark silhouette on the moon as the kite swoops and circles through the night sky.
  • In the famous scene from The Hound of the Baskervilles, Watson and Henry Baskerville notice a Full Moon Silhouette of a man watching them from the top of a granite pillar. It was Holmes.
  • In the Warrior Cats book Path of Stars, after the ceremony at Fourtrees, the cats look up and notice that Slash is sitting on top of the Great Rock, silhouetted against the full moon.
  • The Wheel of Time: The night the main characters first leave their hometown on the Call to Adventure, they see a large, batlike shadow fly across the moon. It turns out to be a Soul Eating Humanoid Abomination that pursues them, then reports their location to the forces of the Shadow.
  • Happens at least twice in the X-Wing Series, involving Star Destroyers (and obviously not with Earth's moon).

    Live-Action TV 
  • Parodied in The Boys (2019); Homelander does it in the second season finale... while also aggressively masturbating and claiming that he "can do whatever the fuck [he] wants".
  • Eureka's season four Christmas Episode has Santa's sleigh being silhouetted against the full moon.
  • In the The Flash (1990) pilot, there was a bolt of lightning that was superimposed on the moon, imitating Flash's chest symbol. As this was put out in the wake of Batman (1989) in the theaters, was probably a callback to the above scene in it.
  • Kamen Rider Fourze has one right in the opening. Given the show's space thematic it was pretty dang predictable.
  • Power Rangers:
  • In one scene of Top Gear's Botswana special, the three presenters' heads appear in silhouette against a rising red moon (red because of all the dust stirred up by their day trip across the Makgadikgadi Pan — one of the world's largest salt flats).

    Music Videos 

  • The final number of Mamma Mia!, "I Have a Dream", is sung by Sophie as she stands in front of a giant full moon. The stage version of the musical ends with Sophie and Sky slowly walking offstage as all the stage lights dim, except for the moon, briefly silhouetting the couple before the final blackout.

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • In the Animaniacs Licensed Game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, the minecart section in the Adventure Stage ends with the Warners flying past the full moon as a sound-alike of the theme from E.T. plays. Given that Animaniacs is a Speilberg-produced cartoon, this was likely intentional.
  • The intro for the Battlefield 2: Special Forces expansion shows a U.S. Navy Seal doing this by zipline, which results in an Offscreen Crash and a frightened cat.
  • The Werediggle Curse skill tree in Dungeons of Dredmor: Realm of the Diggle Gods is represented with an icon of a werediggle silhouette standing on a hill in front of a full moon.
  • Holy Umbrella: In the flashback scene where you play as Viper sneaking into Thurgical Castle, a large full moon remains fixed in the top center of the background so that Viper can be frequently silhouetted against it.
  • The original Mortal Kombat (1992) would feature randomly-selected silhouettes flying over the moon at seemingly random matches set in the Pit (actually determined using some complicated algorithm). This was a signal to the player that this particular match could unlock a fight against Reptile.
  • Pharaoh Rebirth: In stage 5, the Sinai Mines, Jonathan and Jack make a huge leap in their Jeep that results in this trope.
  • Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U has Greninja's Final Smash, which has him wailing on his victim ninja-style as silhouettes in front of a gigantic moon.

    Web Original 
  • The What If? question ""Speed Bump" includes an illustration of a car that lifts off the ground and tumbles helplessly against the moon. The Alt Text says "BREAKING: Child, Unidentified Creature in Bicycle Basket Hit and Killed by Car".

    Western Animation 
  • It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown: Snoopy rises out of the pumpkin patch in front of the full moon. Linus notices Snoopy when he thought he was the Great Pumpkin.
  • The series finale of Kim Possible ends with Kim and Ron flying off in her Cool Car in front of a (what else?) full moon.
  • A very brief example occurs in the Spongebob Squarepants episode One Krab's Trash when Mr. Krabs does a sommersault above the horde of skeletal fishes.
  • In Steven Universe, when Lapis returns to help fight the Diamonds, she is hovering in front of the full moon.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures, being a Spielberg-produced cartoon, has a few Shout Outs to the iconic scene from E.T.:
    • In "Hare Today, Gone Tomorrow", when Buster helps Elmyra's captive pets escape from Elmyra's house, Tyrone falls into the basket of Elmyra's tricycle, which gets launched into the air, and flies past the moon.
    • In the short, "And All That Rot" from the episode, "Brave Tales of Real Rabbits", when Buster, as Brainy Domes, chases after Montana Max, as Montiarity, at one point, their horse-drawn carriages fly into the air and past the moon.
    • In the Direct to Video movie, How I Spent My Vacation, Byron flies in front of the moon, with Buster and Babs in tow, and crashes into E.T. and Elliot.

    Real Life 


Flying Bike

The iconic scene of Elliot's bike flying through the air in front of the full moon.

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Main / FullMoonSilhouette

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